Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Hello, readers.

It’s a new day, a new week. We’re new people, living new lives, and dreaming new dreams….. Well, it’s a new week at any rate. I’m coming down from a weekend full of celebration and happiness to ease myself into the tedium of news that have lost their shiny newness, even if they’re no less important. The promise of grad school looms brightly on the horizon, but it’s no longer accompanied by anxiety and insecurity which is a relief.

9780375507892-us-300I’ve been reading Maya Angelou for the past few weeks now. I’m still surprised by the fact that I’d never read anything of hers before. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is just powerhouse writing all the way. It narrates her early life, up until the time when she’s 16. She goes from living in Stamps, Arkansas to living in California with her mother. Everything that happens in between is described with such aplomb. Her sentences are simple and humble and they deliver punches you never saw coming. Like a very skilled boxer….who is also an invisible ninja. What I’m saying is she was a very talented lady.

There were parts of it that were unexpectedly funny. Parts where I felt a sort of sad kinship with her, there are experiences that ring true everywhere. I rarely ever read memoirs. Not for any particular reason, it just doesn’t happen often. They’re something I have to consciously seek out. Whenever I end up reading them though, I feel like I’m trespassing on someone’s life. A peeping Tom that cares less about sex, than emotions and reactions. But memoirs kinda force you into a double perspective, don’t they? Where you’re watching from the outside and also kind of experiencing this person’s life as your own.

Reading Angelou’s life was like continuously turning onto streets you didn’t expect to be there, but not minding the sudden change of path. Like at one point she was living in a car lot with other homeless children. She decided to become a conductress and spent weeks going to the office and talking with different organizations, until they  finally allowed her to work. Finally, she gets pregnant after having consensual sex for the first time and conceals it for about 8 months before telling her family. It’s just one unexpected turn after another.

That’s where the book ends, by the way. As she realizes she won’t break her baby. It’s a pretty sweet ending, actually. Makes me wonder what came next for her, so I might end up getting the rest of her memoirs.

That’s it for me, sweet readers. Until next time.

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